NAWL is a member of the National Coalition for our Stolen Sisters, led by the Native Women’s Association of Canada. To date, other member organizations include the Canadian Research Institute on the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), Womenspace, the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Women’s Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF), and the Mother of Red Nations. Other groups are encouraged to join the Coalition and to support our work.
The Coalition’s goal is to conduct public education and to raise public awareness about women in Canada who disappear and are often listed as “missing.” Their friends, families and communities know that they are not “missing” – which implies that they may not want to be found – but that they are “stolen” and murdered. Aboriginal women are highly over-represented in this stolen group of women; colonial attitudes, racism and sexism contribute to the vulnerability of Aboriginal women. The Coalition wants to expose these facts, and to publicly highlight the realities of these women as daughters, mothers, aunts, sisters, lovers, neighbours, friends and citizens.
A solidarity rally was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 14, 2003, Valentines’ Day, to draw national attention both to the tragic dimensions of stolen women and to the urgency of the situation. The day was chosen in solidarity with the B.C. Coalition, who held a rally at the Picton Farm where the murdered bodies of many stolen women have been discovered.
If you are interested in joining the Coalition of Stolen Sisters, please contact Terri Brown of the NWAC at (613) 722-3033.
Bonnie Diamond is the Executive Director of NAWL.